As said before, Bairro Alto is the place to be at night. Except for Fado restaurants, and one night per year: June the 12th. This night (and the day after), everywhere in Alfama there are barbecues with sardines, and sangria. Because that night, it is Santo Antonio!
Santo Antonio Festival is to honour Santo Antonio, a marriage Saint born in Lisboa. All night the streets are filled with dancing, drinking, and eating Portuguese. A must visit if you find yourself in Lisbon that time of the year!
The Portuguese are very kind people. Always helpful and patient (at least for temperamental southern European standards). If you live in a city full of tourist, you know it is annoying if a group of tourists block the whole street, looking at some building you have seen a thousand times, but the Portuguese always stay calm.
Being in a rush is a rude thing to do in Lisboa, so make sure you enjoy your stay very calmly. You’ll come home with the calm mood you’ve met in Lisboa!
During the Festival of Santo Antonio, the Portuguese show their passion for celebrations, and nobody will be in a rush.
Even though the Portuguese are kind and warm people, they are a close group, and as an outsider, it is difficult to mingle with them. If you have a distant friend, or relative living in Lisboa, ask them to take you as an guest, to get accepted faster. I noticed this during the festival, a celebration day specially for the Portuguese, not for the tourists!
The tourist are very welcome, but don’t expect too much interaction with the partying locals. But who would blame them, since there are tourists in Lisbon all year? That night, is for the locals.
Portugal is a reforming country, and hopefully the European Union will give this wonderful country and people time to grow. But still, the Portuguese people feel the pressure of the “rich” European countries, and minimum wage is low, so make sure to tip the waiters. And do not be surprised if you pay through the nose. I pad 10 euros for two small pieces of bread and sausage! But knowing they don’t make much money, I didn’t mind.
So here is one final tip: First, ask the price, then take out your money. Do this vice versa and the price by any change, is the amount of money you hold in your hand!
Take care, and see you next week!